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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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the good is for others the seat of all the evil in the
universe. In other words., the very aggrandisement that
was to have made history the moral arbiter has in reality
degraded it into an instrument of the partisan. Each
side seeks to extract the maximum firing-power from the
weapon by advertising the solemnity and the pontifical
character of the moral judgments of history. In times
of war and revolution these arguments possess redoubled
force, with unfortunate consequences for the cause of
historical science.

It is not always remembered that apart from the
fervour of the Cavalier and the Roundhead there can be
such a thing as a sheer historian's zeal, a passion for the
past which does not subordinate itself to militant causes.
Besides the ardour for the Whig or Tory or Socialist
programme, there can be another kind of flame which is
simply a compassion for human beings. It is possible for
Catholic and Protestant, each locked in his separate
universe, to construct his separate history of the
sixteenth century, so that two mutually exclusive
narrative structures incorporate alternative wars of
Right versus Wrong to suit the taste of the reader. Yet
historians who pursue questions belonging to a different
order of thought may make discoveries that are equally
valid for both religious parties ; they may reach some-
thing of that deeper kind of truth which embraces and
helps to explain even the antitheses. Such historians
are drawing together again the torn fabric of historic
life, and healing the wounds of mankind and deepening
our insight into human destiny. We are right if we
wish to see human history in moral terms, but we are